Patna: Lashing out at the Bihar government for tardy implementation of the Food Security Act in the state, the BJP on Friday claimed about 15 per cent beneficiaries have not been issued fresh ration cards to avail subsidised foodgrain.
A vast number of the eligible beneficiaries were not getting their food quota for months due to poor delivery mechanism, the party alleged.
"Out of the 8.71 crore beneficiaries in Bihar under the Food Security Act, 1.11 crore people have not been issued fresh ration cards for availing their food quota at subsidised rate of Rs 2 per kg wheat and Rs 3 per kg rice," Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Nandkishore Yadav said.
Issuance of ration cards to all beneficiaries (85 per cent in rural areas and 74 per cent in urban area) have not been completed even after ten months of rolling out of the Food Act in Bihar, nor have the beneficiaries been provided food quota due to dysfunctional delivery mechanism, he said.
Even disposal of objections (one crore in all) ahead of finalization of the list of beneficiaries have not been completed by the department, Yadav said.
The Leader of Opposition criticised the state government for its failure to transport foodgrain to PDS outlets for disbursement among beneficiaries.
The state government has claimed to have lifted 95 per cent of its foodgrain quota from the Centre, the senior BJP leader said alleging that the grains have not been distributed to the people and have made it to the black market.
State Food and Consumer Protection minister Shyam Rajak hit out at the Union Food and Consumers Affairs Minister Ramvilas Paswan for setting a deadline of January 31 next year for paddy procurement despite the fact that harvesting of the crop begins around December in Bihar.
Paswan appears to have made up his mind to benefit middlemen by setting a deadline for paddy procurement in Bihar, Rajak alleged and charged the Union Minister for playing with farmers' future by forcing them to sell off their harvest at throwaway prices.
On the procuring agencies dithering to purchase paddy from the farmers on account of high moisture level, Rajak said his department has written to the Centre for extension of the deadline for paddy procurement in view of the prevalent cold weather conditions in Bihar due to which crops receive high moisture.
Rajak also urged the Union Minister to release funds to Bihar for implementation of the Food Security Act in the state instead of indulging in "crass politics" over paddy procurement.